Effectiveness of fixed dose combination medication ('polypills') compared with usual care in patients with cardiovascular disease or at high risk: A prospective, individual patient data meta-analysis of 3140 patients in six countries

Ruth Webster, Anushka Patel, Vanessa Selak, Laurent Billot, Michiel L. Bots, Alex Brown, Chris Bullen, Alan Cass, Sue Crengle, C. Raina Elley, Diederick E. Grobbee, Bruce Neal, David Peiris, Neil Poulter, Dorairaj Prabhakaran, Natasha Rafter, Alice Stanton, Sandrine Stepien, Simon Thom, Tim UsherwoodAngela Wadham, Anthony Rodgers

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Aims To conduct a prospective, individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials comparing a polypill-based approach with usual care in high risk individuals. Methods and results Three trials comparing polypill-based care with usual care in individuals with CVD or high calculated cardiovascular risk contributed IPD. Primary outcomes were self-reported adherence to combination therapy (anti-platelet, statin and ≥ two blood pressure (BP) lowering agents), and difference in mean systolic BP (SBP) and LDL-cholesterol at 12 months. Analyses used random effects models. Among 3140 patients from Australia, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand and The Netherlands (75% male, mean age 62 years), median follow-up was 15 months. At baseline, 84%, 87% and 61% respectively were taking a statin, anti-platelet agent and at least two BP lowering agents. At 12 months, compared to usual care, participants in the polypill arm had higher adherence to combination therapy (80% vs. 50%, RR 1.58; 95% CI, 1.32 to 1.90; p < 0.001), lower SBP (- 2.5 mmHg; 95% CI, - 4.5 to - 0.4; p = 0.02) and lower LDL-cholesterol (- 0.1 mmol/L; 95% CI, - 0.2 to 0.0; p = 0.04). Baseline treatment levels were a major effect modifier for adherence and SBP (p-homog < 0.0001 and 0.02 respectively) with greatest improvements seen among those under-treated at baseline. Conclusions Polypill therapy significantly improved adherence, SBP and LDL-cholesterol in high risk patients compared with usual care, especially among those who were under-treated at baseline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-156
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 15 Feb 2016


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Meta-analysis
  • Polypill
  • Secondary prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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